The end of academic standards? A lament on the erosion of scholarly values in the post-truth world

26 Jan 2018

I have recently been in correspondence with the staff of the Journal of Chemistry: Education Research and Practice, something which has brought home to me the extent to which academic standards and scholarly values are under threat. I should point out, just in case it is not obvious, that the Journal of Chemistry: Education Research and Practice has absolutely nothing to do with this journal, Chemistry Education Research and Practice. This other journal is just one of countless new journals and conferences appearing in a marketplace selling the opportunity for academics to present their work, or allowing scholars to acquire credentials by being named as members of conference organising committees, editorial boards, or even editors, without requiring any conference organising, strategic oversight of journal policy, or editorial work.The work of these journals and conference series seems to be undertaken by clerical staff with no knowledge of the relevant academic field. Indeed, any direct engagement by scholars having actual expertise would probably amount to a distraction from the core commercial activity of generating revenue streams by selling academic credit. Having a purely technical role, the administrators are often able to work across a suite of journals or conferences on a diverse range of foci without being hampered by the inconvenience of needing to know anything about the disciplinary fields within their remit.